Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.
Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 29.94 million, death toll at 938 291
More than 29.94 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 938 291 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
WHO Europe warns of 'alarming' virus transmission rates
Copenhagen – The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Thursday of "alarming rates of transmission" of Covid-19 across Europe and cautioned countries against shortening quarantine periods.
The WHO's regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said the number of coronavirus cases seen in September "should serve as a wake-up call for all of us".
"Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region," he told an online press conference from Danish capital Copenhagen.
The health body also said it would not change its guidance calling for a 14-day quarantine period for anyone exposed to the novel coronavirus.
"Our quarantine recommendation of 14 days has been based on our understanding of the incubation period and transmission of the disease. We would only revise that on the basis of a change of our understanding of the science," WHO Europe's senior emergency officer Catherine Smallwood said.
In France for instance, the recommended length for self-isolation in case of exposure has been reduced to seven days.
It is 10 days in the UK and Ireland, and several more European countries, such as Portugal and Croatia, are currently considering reducing their recommendations.
Positive Covid-19 cases up 167% in England since end of August - tracing scheme
LONDON – There has been a 167% increase in the number of new people testing positive for Covid-19 in England, the National Health Service's test and trace scheme said on Thursday.
The scheme said positive cases have been rising since the start of July and are now double the number recorded when Test and Trace launched in May.
Trump says staffer tested positive for Covid-19 but was 'not near' him
WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said a White House staffer tested positive for Covid-19, but the individual was not "near" him or "associated with" him.
"It was not anybody that was near me," Trump said at a press conference.
"It was one person," Trump added. "It was not a person that I was associated with."
The press briefing came one day after Trump met with three world leaders at the White House to sign a Middle East peace accord.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at the press conference that the confirmed case "did not affect" the White House event and that the individual was not near members of the press.
India's coronavirus cases jump by daily record of 97 894
BENGALURU – India reported another record jump in daily coronavirus infections with 97 894 cases in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed on Thursday.
With 5.12 million cases in all, India is the world's second-worst affected country, and trails only the United States, which has a caseload of around 6.6 million.
Deaths, which have been relatively low so far, are showing an uptick, and the country has recorded more than 1 000 deaths every day for the last two weeks.
On Thursday, the federal health ministry said 1 132 people died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking total fatalities from the disease to 83 198.
Australia's Victoria state reports 28 new Covid-19 cases, eight deaths
SYDNEY – Australia's Victoria state said the daily rise in coronavirus infections eased further on Thursday, as the state began relaxing most restrictions outside its largest city of Melbourne after a steady drop in cases in recent days.
Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, reported 28 new cases and eight deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. It reported 42 cases and eight deaths a day earlier.
Average cases in Melbourne, which is on an extended hard lockdown until 28 September, was below 50 on Wednesday, the benchmark the state has set to start easing curbs.
Russia's coronavirus death toll passes 19 000
MOSCOW – Russia's death toll from the novel coronavirus passed 19 000 on Thursday, as the country reported 144 new deaths in the previous 24 hours.
The country's coronavirus crisis response centre registered 5 762 new cases, bringing its nationwide tally of infections to 1 085 281, the world's fourth-highest caseload.
The death toll now stands at 19 061.
Mexico reports 4 444 new coronavirus cases, 300 deaths
MEXICO CITY – Mexico confirmed an additional 4 444 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country and 300 more deaths on Wednesday, bringing the totals to 680 931 cases and 71 978 deaths.
The government has said that the actual number of cases is likely higher.
Brazil registers 987 new deaths due to coronavirus
RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil on Wednesday registered 987 new deaths, the health ministry said, bringing the total death toll to 134 106.
Cases rose by 36 820 to a total of 4 419 083.
Czech Republic's daily jump in Covid-19 cases exceeds 2 000 for first time
PRAGUE – The Czech Republic reported on Thursday more than 2 000 new Covid-19 cases in a single day for the first time as it battles a surge in infections that is among the fastest in Europe.
The health ministry recorded 2 139 cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, up from a previous record 1 675 reported for the previous day.
Ukraine sets daily record with 3 584 new coronavirus cases
KYIV – Ukraine set a daily record with 3 584 new coronavirus infections, the national security council said on Thursday, up from a figure of 3 144 on 11 September.
Ukraine has a total of 166 244 cases, with 3 400 deaths and 73 913 recoveries, the council added.
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 2 194 to 265 857 - RKI
BERLIN – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2 194 to 265 857, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.
The reported death toll rose by three to 9 371, the tally showed.
Australia says daily Covid-19 cases fall to 3-month low
SYDNEY – Australia on Thursday reported its lowest one-day rise in new Covid-19 cases in nearly three months, as states said restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus will be further relaxed.
Australia said 35 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in the past 24 hours, the lowest one-day rise since 24 June.
Victoria state – Australia's Covid-19 epicentre – accounted for the bulk of the new cases, with 28 people diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours.
"It is a fantastic outcome and a tribute to the hard work, sacrifice and contribution every single Victorian is making and I want to say thank you," Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
The result in Victoria will buoy hopes that residents in Melbourne will soon be granted additional freedoms after more than six weeks under a strict lockdown.
Melbourne is on an extended hard lockdown until 28 September. If at that point the two-week average number of infections is below 50, which it currently is, then restrictions will be eased.
Indonesia reports 3 635 new coronavirus infections, 122 deaths
JAKARTA – Indonesia reported 3 635 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, bringing the country's total number of cases to 232 628, the health ministry's website showed.
The ministry also reported 122 additional deaths from the virus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 9 222, the highest in Southeast Asia.
Philippines sees 3 375 new coronavirus cases, 53 more deaths
MANILA – The Philippines' health ministry on Thursday reported 3 375 new coronavirus infections and 53 additional deaths.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases in the Philippines have reached 276 289, the most in Southeast Asia, while deaths have increased to 4 785.
Mainland China reports 9 new Covid-19 cases vs 12 a day earlier
SHANGHAI – Mainland China reported nine new Covid-19 cases as of 16 September, down from 12 reported a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Thursday.
The National Health Commission said in a statement all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic patients also fell to 14 from 16 a day earlier, though China does not count these patients as confirmed cases.
The total of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 85 223, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4 634.
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